Which banks have changed their rewards programs in 2016?

Information verified correct on September 27th, 2016
2016-rewards-program

Want to know how changes to credit card reward programs could affect you in 2016? Get the latest details and compare your options here.

A number of credit card issuers have made changes to their reward programs in 2016, often resulting in less value for cardholders. It’s also likely that more banks will make updates to their rewards cards in the future.

With reward credit cards frequently having high interest rates and annual fees, changes to factors such as the points per $1 earned or cost of transferring them to a frequent flyer program have a huge impact on the affordability of different cards. This guide outlines the credit card rewards programs undergoing changes, when you can expect them to kick in and how you can compare them.

Credit card reward program updates in 2016

Credit card issuerChanges in rewards programDate effective
American ExpressMembership Rewards - No changes announcedN/A
ANZ

ANZ Rewards

    • The annual fee is reduced from $89 to $80.
    • The earn rates have dropped from 1 point per $1 to 0.75. points per $1 for the Visa card and from 2 points per $1 to 1.5 points per $1 for the American Express card.
    • The earn rates have dropped from 1.5 points per $1 to 1 point per $1 for the Visa and from 3 points per $1 to 2 points per $1 for the American Express.
    • The earn rate for the Visa has dropped from 2 points per $1 to 1.25 points per $1.

ANZ Qantas Rewards - No changes announced

14 March 2016
Bank AustraliaQantas Rewards - No changes announcedN/A
BankwestMore Rewards From this date, the points required to redeem products and services from the More Rewards website will change. You will be able to view the changes to the points redemption values after the 4 July 2016.Qantas Rewards

    • Reduced earn rate from 0.75 points to 0.5 points per $1.
    • Interest free days are cut from 55 days to 44 days.
    • Reduced earn rate from 1 point to 0.66 points per $1.
    • Interest free days are cut from 55 days to 44 days.

The points you’re required to redeem rewards has also changed from this date.

4 July 2016

20 June 2016

 

Bank of MelbourneAmplify Rewards - No changes announced

N/A

Bank of QueenslandQ Rewards

  • BPAY transactions no longer eligible to earn reward points.
  • International transaction fee of 3.4% now includes “any transaction made with an overseas merchant in Australian dollars”.
1 May 2016
BankSAAmplify Rewards - No changes announced N/A
CitiCiti Rewards

  • No points for BPAY purchases.
  • International transaction fee increased to 3.4% (previously 3%).
  • Increased point transfer rates for Velocity and KrisFlyer from 1.5 Citi Rewards = 1 frequent flyer point to:
    Citi Gold (Visa) and Platinum: 2.5 Citi Rewards = 1 frequent flyer point. Minimum of 25,000 Citi Rewards points per transfer.
    Citi Prestige, Signature and CitiBusiness: 2 Citi Rewards = 1 frequent flyer point. Minimum of 20,000 Citi Rewards points per transfer.
  • Minimum frequent flyer transfer amount increased from 15,000 points to 20,000 points.
    • Cardholders will earn 1.5 points per $1 on overseas spending (down from 4 points per $1).
    • Points are now capped at the first $20,000 spent for each monthly statement period.

Emirates Rewards

  • The earn rate is cut from 1.5 to 1.25 points per $1 for overseas transactions and from 2 points to 1.5 points per $1 for Emirates bookings.
  • Points on everyday spending are now capped at 1 point per $1 for the first $3,000 in a month, and 0.5 points up to $10,000 after that.

Qantas Rewards

    • Points on everyday spending are now capped at 1 point per $1 for the first $3,000 in a month, and 0.5 points up to $10,000 after that.
18 March 2016
CommBankAwards Program 

  • No rewards for ATO payments
  • A $50 gift card increase from 9,800 to 10,700
  • A $100 gift card increase from 18,200 to 20,000
    • Increase from 2 Awards points to 2.5 Awards points = 1 Qantas frequent flyer point

November 2015 (ATO payments)

2 May 2016

HSBCQantas Rewards 

  • Earn rate reduced from 1 point per $1 on domestic spending and from 2 points per $1 on international spending to 1 point per $1 for the first $2,500 each month and 0.5 points per $1 after that.
  • Cardholders no longer receive 2 complimentary Qantas Club invitations annually.
August 2015
JetstarJetstar Rewards - No changes announced N/A
Latitude Financial Services (formerly GE)Coles flybuysGO Rewards and MYER One - No changes announcedN/A
Macquarie BankMacquarie Rewards - No points earned on BPAY or ATO payments.
Qantas - No points earned on BPAY or ATO payments.

    • Instead of 1 point per $1 uncapped, cardholders will earn 1 point per $1 for the first $2,500 each month and 0.5 points after that.
  • Qantas Black
    • Instead of 1 point per $1 uncapped, cardholders will earn 1 point per $1 for the first $4,000 each month and 0.5 points after that.

Hilton HHonors - No points earned on BPAY or ATO payments.

11 May 2016
NABQantas Rewards and Velocity Rewards - No changes announcedN/A
St.GeorgeAmplify Rewards - No changes announcedN/A
Suncorp BankQantas Rewards

    • A reduced earn rate from 0.5 points to 0.25 points per $1 spent.
    • A reduced earn rate from 1 point to 0.5 points per $1 spent.
    • An additional $49 annual fee to join the Qantas rewards program.
  • Complimentary insurance
    • The provider of complimentary insurance is changing from Zurich Australian Insurance to Allianz Global.

Suncorp Rewards

    • The earn rate is reduced from 1 point per $1 uncapped to 1 point per $1 for the first $1,500 every month and 0.5 points per $1 after that.
  • Point transfers to frequent flyer programs
    • The cost of transferring rewards increases from 1 May 2016, with 2.5 Suncorp Reward points equal to 1 Velocity or KrisFlyer point (up from 2 Suncorp points).
    • The minimum transfer amount also increases from 20,000 Suncorp points to 25,000.
  • Complimentary insurance
    • The provider of complimentary insurance is changing from Zurich Australian Insurance to Allianz Global.
1 May 2016
Virgin MoneyVelocity Rewards - The Reduced Flight Benefit (buy one ticket, get a complimentary companion ticket) is being replaced with an annual $129 flight voucher.

    • The earn rate is cut from 0.66 points per $1 to 0.5 points per $1 for the first $1,500 spent each month.
    • The earn rate of 1.25 points per $1 is cut to 1 point per $1 for the first $10,000 spent each month and 0.5 points per $1 after that. An increased rate of 3 points per $1 for spending with Virgin Australia (up from 1.25 points)
    • Introduction of two complimentary single Virgin Australia domestic Lounge passes.
 April 2016
Westpac

Altitude Rewards:

  • Transfer rates have increased from 2 Altitude Rewards Points per 1 KrisFlyer Mile to 2.5 Altitude Rewards points per 1 KrisFlyer Mile.
  • Cardholders will need 2.5 Altitude Rewards Points per 1 Cathay Pacific Asia Mile.
  • Transfer rates have also increased from 160 Altitude Points per 1 NZ Airpoint to 180 Altitude Points per 1 NZ AirPoint.
28 September 2016
WoolworthsQantas Rewards - No points earned on BPAY or ATO payments.11 May 2016
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Why have these changes been made?

Most credit card issuers reserve the right to change their reward program details at any time and some even say they may do so “without any notice”, which can make it hard to pinpoint specific reasons for the changes.

The latest reward program updates, however, have largely been attributed to a revision of interchange fees, which businesses accepting credit cards pay to issuers every time we use plastic. As a Bankwest representative explains on the Bankwest Forum:

“The changes made by the Reserve Bank of Australia in November 2015 have reduced the interchange earnings that are used to directly subsidise the cost of reward points and as a result the product features need to be updated to continue to deliver a sustainable product.”

Other reasons for updates could include changes to program partners, consumer feedback or competition within the credit card market at the time.

Tips to get the most out of credit card rewards

  • Regularly check for reward program updates. Make sure you have the latest details on your credit card reward program so that you know exactly what value you are getting. Always read your statements and correspondence from your credit card issuer, or check this page for the latest program changes as they are announced.
  • Compare cards. Compare reward credit cards to find a card that offers you competitive rewards based on your circumstances.
  • Consider a no annual fee rewards card. With many of the reward programs above cutting the amount of points you earn per $1 spent, the cost of an annual fee can easily outweigh potential rewards. So a card that charges no annual fee, such as the American Express Velocity Escape or American Express Qantas Discovery, could be a more affordable option that still earns rewards.
  • Factor in redemption costs. When it comes to using your points, some redemption options offer more value than others. For example, a one-way economy flight from Sydney to Melbourne costs 8,000 Qantas points, while a $50 Woolworths gift card costs 8,810 points. So by considering the different points required you can optimise the value of your points.
  • Consider an additional cardholder. Another way to add value to your reward credit card is to request an additional card for a partner or family member. This means they can share the account with you and earn points on their purchases as well. Just make sure you discuss repayments and any additional charge for this feature.
  • Make use of complimentary extras. As well as points, many reward credit cards come with complimentary extras, such as international travel insurance, airport lounge passes and concierge services. The more you use these perks, the more value you can get out of the card to offset the cost of any interest charges and fees.

Changes to rewards can have a huge impact on the cost of a credit card. By being aware of the latest updates to these programs, you can make more informed decisions about credit cards and get as much value as possible out of the one that you choose.

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 27th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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